Over the next three days, Rob Jeffries will be bringing you his previews for each day’s racing at this year’s Chester Boodles May Festival.
Wednesday’s highlight is, of course, the prestigious Chester Cup. Last year’s winner, Trip To Paris, went on to score the Ascot Gold Cup later in the season.
With four of the 17 runners declared in the Betway Chester Cup (3.10) owned by Dr Marwan Koukash, he is again looking to capture a marquee victory at Chester – a track that for many years had a place in the Good Doctor’s heart, but all eyes will be on the five-year-old Steve Rogers, trained by Roger Varian who is poised to line up as favourite, winning here back September but is stepping up in trip in this two-and-a-quarter mile Class 2 handicap.
The opening race of the Boodles May Festival however sees the Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes (2.10) where local Malpas trainer Tom Dascombe, has two runners, with Fiery Character hopeful to follow up win to her success at Newmarket last month, with a great inside draw.
Later in the afternoon, the Boodles Diamond Handicap (3.45) is sure to provoke a flurry of bets at the Roodee on Dascombe’s aptly named Roudee.
Having won here last year on the final day of the May Festival, just a day after coming third at the same track, Roudee’s local owners will be hoping for repeat success, and with a superb inside draw, and a horse that’s fast from the stalls, trip will suit. Roudee’s last outing at Epsom a fortnight ago over the same distance saw the four-year-old edged out in the final strides, but claiming a second win of the flat season on home turf will no doubt see plenty of celebration.
In the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks (2.40), the highly respected and ever improving Somehow, trained by Aiden O’Brian and ridden by Ryan Moore is certain to attract a lot of attention in the parade ring.
Moore will also be looking to strike again in the Homeserve Conditions Stakes (4.20) on Dutch Masterpiece, a previous course and distance winner, over the extended five furlongs having secured a favourable low draw in the stalls, but faces stiff competition from Maljaa who improved throughout 2015.
Later on the card, Sir Michael Stoute’s Mulk Will be a heavy favourite to score a first win in the Stellar Group Maiden Stakes (4.55) while Ryan Moore could look to claim a hat trick on board Red Verdon in the Deepbridge Capital Handicap (5.25) in the final race of Wednesday.
Rob Jeffries Twitter: @JournoRob